The start of the downhill season is here, with the first round of the Halo British Downhill Series taking place at Nant Gwrtheryn, North Wales last weekend. It was a wet and windy affair but there was a decent turn out with some big names rocking up to ride.
The highly technical and rocky track proved testing for many and offered a good shakedown for the new teams and bikes out there, with the debut of the new Orange 322 under the MTBCut riders, the Nukeproof Scalp under the CRC team and a number of other riders and the brand new Madison Saracen team on the Myst.
Here’s a rather nicely shot video edit from Chris Seager that gives a good taste of the track and the weekend’s racing…
GT Bicycles rider Marc Beaumont took the win, with Alex Bond of Team Skene in second and Steve Peat taking third place, despite having a big moment on his race run.There are full results over at RootsAndRain, but we’ll give a big up to Hope sponsored and occasional Singletrack night rider Tom Braithwaite who took 9th place overall and our mate Mats ‘The Swede’ Lund, who took 13th in the Masters category. Young Nial Oxley (check his pit tour and encounter with Chris Porter from last year’s Fort William World Cup HERE), Nukeproof rider and spawn of the Great Rock Beard, took third place in Juniors too.
Here’s some video from Jacob Gibbons, following the youthful Madison Saracen team’s first outing…
.and if you prefer words then here is Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof Team Manager Nigel Page, who won the Masters category, with his report on the weekend’s race action:
“The 2011 race season kicked off with a bang this past weekend with the Halo BDS round one at Nant Gwrtheyrn. It seemed like half of the top 40 World Cup riders were there, making it a fantastic race.
This was the first race for the full team and it was great to see everyone all together on our new Nukeproof Scalps. We had a great weekend with no bike problems and all the riders made the podiums in their respective categories.
The track was really challenging for the racers. It was technical on the top section being pretty steep, rocky and rooty and there was a big pedal section at the bottom that resembled a trail centre, which showed who had been putting in the training over the winter. The terrible weather conditions added to this on race day, making it really slippery and boggy, sapping your energy on the pedalling sections.
In the Junior category, reigning National Champion – and favourite for the race Lewis Buchanan – had a disappointing run by his standards going down on the top section, but still posted a time quick enough for fourth place and a podium position, which was amazing. Lew is such a fast, talented rider and we are stoked to have him on board with the team this year.
In the Elites all three of our riders – Joe Smith, Matt Simmonds and Matti Lehikoinen – finished in the top eight in fifth, seventh and eighth respectively, gaining a place on the eight-man Elite podium.
Matt Simmonds finished in a time of 2.24, only four seconds off second with a full-on big crash on the top section, which proves how strong Matt is for this year.
All the guys rode really well and it was a great start to the season, with everyone confident and looking forward to the World Cup opener in South Africa next month.
I raced in the old men’s Master class and just about managed my first win on my new Nukeproof Scalp.
Thanks to our mechanics Carl and Cord for the weekend, who kept our bikes running sweet. Congratulations to GTs Marc Beaumont who smashed the Elite field by an impressive four seconds.
Thanks also to all our sponsors for all the best components available, making our job so much easier. And a big shout out to Dave and Si from Halo BDS for running a great event.
We are over at Chain Reaction Cycles this week for a team photoshoot and then an Irish National at Rostrevor, so it should be a great week.”